Raab’s unscheduled meeting with Barnier yesterday ended in lack of consensus…

“…Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, travelled to Brussels yesterday for an unscheduled meeting with his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, amid speculation that officials on both sides had reached agreement over the so-called Irish backstop. But Theresa May’s hopes of sealing a deal at the summit in Brussels that starts on Wednesday were left on a knife-edge when both sides declared that there had been no consensus. … Mr Raab travelled to Brussels yesterday to try to find a solution on the backstop. Olly Robbins, Mrs May’s leading official, and his EU counterparts had the outlines of a “technical” agreement yesterday afternoon, The Times understands. But the prime minister and Mr Raab face a difficult task persuading several members of the cabinet and many Conservative backbenchers that the backstop does not lock Britain into an indefinite customs union with the EU.” – The Times

  • There were a “flurry of crisis meetings” that led to speculation – Daily Express 
  • But it’s claimed that Raab “played for time” – Guardian
  • Barnier says “key issues remain open” – Daily Mail 
  • The border is the crunch – Guardian
  • Monday meeting cancelled owing to “lack of progress” – The Sun
  • Here’s a timeline – FT


  • “Only compromise can break the deadlock” – The Times
  • We need a “time-limit agreement for the temporary customs union” – The Sun

…EU had “expected” May to “announce deal outline as soon as today”. But she “refused to endorse it”. Is it “unsellable”?

“Theresa May refused to endorse a draft Brexit deal negotiated by UK and EU officials on Sunday night amid fears that her Cabinet would fail to back the plan.On Sunday night, it was unclear whether Downing Street had effectively put the talks on hold to allow the Prime Minister more time to win over Brexiteers in the Cabinet. It may also be designed to wring final concessions over the language in the agreement from the Brussels negotiators. However, there is also growing concern in both Westminster and Brussels that the Prime Minister may have been warned that the deal is “unsellable” and that she may not have the political backing to sign up to the blueprint at this week’s summit. This would leave the talks in crisis.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Could this lead to total breakdown? – FT
  • A leaked memo suggested May would agree to customs union deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Davidson and Mundell “prepared to resign” if deal means border “down the Irish Sea” – Daily Telegraph
  • Davis had called for rebellion against customs solution – Daily Telegraph
  • He said the cabinet should “exert its collective authority” against Chequers, as nine are “considering their positions” – Guardian
  • May “faces cabinet mutiny” – Daily Mail
  • Johnson says “it’s time to scrap backstop” – Daily Express
  • May to host lunches and dinners for Brexiter MPs over next two days – The Times
  • Starmer says parliament should scrutinise any backstop agreement – Guardian
  • Meanwhile, Bavaria exemplifies increasing German political fragmentation – Leopold Traugott, The Times 

>Today: ToryDiay: The backstop threatens the Union. Davidson knows it. And May can’t afford to lose her

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Hancock wants the backstop to be “temporary” and “time-limited”

Johnson: We are “entering the moment of crisis”. It’s time to stand up to the EU bullies.

“There comes a point when you have to stand up to bullies. After more than two years of being ruthlessly pushed around by the EU, it is time for the UK to resist. With painful politeness, we have agreed to the EU’s timetable for discussions. We have consented to hand over huge quantities of taxpayers’ money – £39bn of it. We have quite properly volunteered to protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK. So far we have nothing to show for our generosity and understanding. We are now entering the moment of crisis. Matters cannot go on as they are. In presuming to change the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom, the EU is treating us with naked contempt. Like some chess player triumphantly forking our king and our queen, the EU Commission is offering the UK government what appears to be a binary choice.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May needs to talk tough like Trump – Tim Newark, Daily Express 
  • May’s way is looking like a disaster – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Harper: The EU has “interpreted the backstop to suit itself”

“Later this week, the Prime Minister travels to Brussels for a meeting of the European Council, where Brexit takes centre stage. One of the important issues which still needs to be resolved is ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to be treated as an integral part of the United Kingdom and that businesses in Northern Ireland have unfettered access to the rest of the United Kingdom’s internal market. It will also be necessary to agree with the other European countries, including the Republic of Ireland, arrangements for ensuring that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains the personnel-free, barrier-free entity that it is today. Some are of the opinion that maintaining this state of affairs at the border cannot be solved with a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement. However, this view is mistaken for several reasons. The EU has interpreted December’s backstop to suit itself, effectively demanding a border in the Irish Sea in what amounts to a de facto annexation of Northern Ireland by the EU in a flagrant breach of both the Belfast Agreement as well as the territorial and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.” – Daily Express

  • “We don’t gamble with the Union” – Nigel Dodds, The Times

Brexiter cabinet members to meet today, chaired by Leadsom

“Brexiter cabinet members have called a meeting to be chaired by the Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, to discuss their next move on Monday. Previous attendees of such meetings have included the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, the international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, and the transport secretary, Chris Grayling.” – Guardian

Backbenchers “call for Davis to become interim leader”

“Furious Tories openly called for David Davis to become “interim leader” yesterday in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. Backbencher Nadine Dorries said it “may be time” to “get Mrs May out of the way” and let the ex-Brexit Secretary do the top job. It came after “DD” stunned Downing Street by calling on Cabinet Ministers to rise up in a bid to kill off Mrs May’s soft Brexit plan. Separately, allies of Mr Davis questioned Boris Johnson’s ability to be PM. One friend said: “People realise Boris can’t win now. There’s no way he can get through the Parliamentary party.” Meanwhile, Next boss Simon Wolfson denied a No Deal would push up clothing prices in the UK, saying it wouldn’t be a “disaster”.” – The Sun


  • Don’t “underestimate Davis” – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian
  • Much of this is his fault – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail 

“No deal” plans to be “start being put into effect by end of month”

“The Times has learnt that senior civil servants have warned ministers that whatever happens this week, the government’s contingency plans for Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal agreed must start being put into effect by the end of the month. … Ministers have been told to start implementing plans for a no-deal Brexit within weeks as last-ditch talks in Brussels between Britain and the EU broke up after little more than an hour. Rather than wait for the conclusion of talks in Brussels, or the ratification of any deal by MPs, the work of stockpiling medicines and telling businesses to begin registering for new customs processes must begin shortly, ministers have concluded. Those involved in the discussions said that if the government delayed taking action to prepare for a no-deal Brexit beyond this month, it faced being under-prepared by March 29 next year, when Britain officially leaves the EU.” – The Times

  • Both sides “signal a speed up to no deal planning” – The Sun
  • DUP thinks “no deal” likely after “hostile” exchange with Barnier – Daily Express
  • Treasury asks high-street banks to assess their risks in case of “no deal” – The Times

Flint and other Labour MPs say they’ll back May rather than “no deal”

“Senior Labour MPs have publicly vowed to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal for the first time, as the Prime Minister faces a battle to keep her own party together ahead of a crucial Commons vote. Caroline Flint, Gareth Snell and Ruth Smeeth all ruled out voting against the agreement Mrs May wins from Brussels if the alternative is a no-deal Brexit. Their votes could be the difference between the Prime Minister getting her plans through the House of Commons and her dealing failing altogether, which some have claimed would mean the end of her leadership. Labour’s official position is that the party will only support the final Brexit deal in the so-call meaningful vote in Parliament if it passes their six tests.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: People’s Vote campaigners and some MPs are “patronising” and “offensive” to Leave voters, says Flint

Conservative Brexiters join with DUP to call for cut to air passenger duty

“Tory Brexiteers and the DUP are joining forces to demand the Chancellor slash air passenger duty (APD) in half, the Sun can reveal. They claim a £1.5billion cut to the “levy on holidays” will get Britain ready for take-off after Brexit. And Ulster unionists in the DUP will take their demand to the doors of the Treasury  in another high profile attack on Theresa May’s Government – which they prop up in the Commons. Dozens of Tories are believed to support the call. APD has soared from just £10 in 1994 to £78 on one-way economy ticket for long-haul journeys. Campaigners claim this can make up nearly a third of the ticket price for some flights to Dubai.” – The Sun

Hunt speaks of “grave concern” about Khashoggi

“Reports that a missing Arab journalist has been murdered in Turkey are of “grave concern”, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. Audio recordings of 59-year-old Jamal Khashoggi, who hasn’t been seen since October 2, may have captured his death on his Apple Watch, reports claimed last week. … Today Mr Hunt expressed British concerns for the journalist for the first time – with a joint statement with other European counterparts. He, the foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of France and Heiko Maas of Germany said today: “Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France. …” They demanded a “credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened” and make sure those who are responsible are held to account.” – The Sun

  • And he will ask EU to put “chemical weapons sanctions on Russia” – Daily Express

Williamson “threatens” to close RAF base in Truss’s constituency “unless she scraps defence cuts”

“Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson threatened to close a key RAF base in a blazing row with a fellow Cabinet minister. He told Liz Truss to her face that he would axe RAF Marham in her Norfolk constituency unless she scrapped defence cuts. The feud between the two has been going on for months and shows no sign of letting up. Last month, Mr Williamson told Miss Truss he intended to ban television cameras invited to RAF Marham to publicise a visit by her. Marham is the new home of the RAF and Royal Navy F-35 Lightning, the most advanced fighter jet in the world. The first planes arrived in Norfolk in June. The face to face spending clash between Mr Williamson and Miss Truss, both seen as possible Tory leaders, took place in the summer. He made similar threats aimed at her in other meetings with Ministry of Defence officials.” – Daily Mail

  • Truss recalculation when justice secretary has led to mass NHS payout – The Times

More Conservatives

  • Duncan Smith says UC must have more money – Daily Telegraph
  • Will there be a policy to cap ground rents? – FT
  • Could budget include VAT for private school fees? – The Sun
  • Hammond should think about HS2 costs – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
  • McVey says they’re tantamount to a “blank cheque” – Daily Mail
  • We cannot forget air pollution – Nus Ghani, The Times 
  • Virtue-signal environmentalism is often regressive – Robert Halfon, The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Duncan Smith. Universal Credit must be funded properly to be transformative

>Today: Chloe Westley’s column: In praise of the small business people I met, who help create the wealth which keeps public services going

Foster faces down criticism and says she’s staying as leader

“Arlene Foster has told internal opponents that she will not be walking away from the DUP leadership after a series of criticisms of the party emerged at an unusually forthright meeting of the DUP executive in Omagh last week. Over recent weeks there have been rumours of a potential challenge to Mrs Foster before the party’s annual conference at the end of next month. Power within the party has shifted from Stormont – where Mrs Foster has now not been first minister for almost two years – to Westminster, while the tide of revelations from the RHI Inquiry have exposed problem after problem in how the party has been run.” – Belfast News Letter

  • Whitehall says “Claim of Right” doesn’t give Sturgeon mandate for IndyRef2 – Herald


  • Thornberry talks of “fundamental reform” of UC rather than getting rid of it – The Times
  • Maybe McDonnell isn’t so committed to workers shares? – FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Thornberry defends Labour’s six Brexit tests

News in Brief

  • Smith’s phone photo – Steerpike, Spectator
  • Trump and the Saudis – Robin Wright, New Yorker
  • Why we should learn languages – Daniel Everett, Aeon
  • Art and the city – Anna Aslanyan, TLS